Aside from a couple of shining moments, you're crazy if you've ever thought 50 was lyrically that good. His success is mainly due to his style/swagger, stellar beats, and undeniable hooks. Not like I'm trying to take anything away from him, but if you're expecting a whole lot of solid rhymes, let alone ones that don't involve guns & sex, 50 never has nor will be the place to go. He hasn't changed a whole lot in two years, but is he still doing it as good as he has?
"In My Hood" gets the album off to a solid start, it's a typical 50 Cent hood song and has a great beat by C. Styles & Bang Out. Overall it's good, but it's nothing special (although the Saxophone part that closes the track is real nice). "This Is 50" has a pretty grimy beat, but 50's drawl at the end of every line seems all too formulaic, taking a page right out of "Blood Hound" from "Get Rich...". It could easily grow on the listener though. Lyrically 50 copies his previous effort again with "I'm Supposed To Die Tonight" (aka "Many Men" Pt. II). That being said it's one of the better tracks on the album with Eminem's production being the perfect marriage for the 50's subject matter.
"Piggy Bank" is Massacre's diss track, where the clunky beat won't really draw you in as much as the venom he spits at Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Shyne, & Nas. To be honest this is not a big winner, the beat's not really that great but the big thing is while he disses these rappers he doesn't really say anything remotely harmful/embarrassing/clever/whatever. All this track is gonna do is make enemies & create some buzz, but he didn't have a single diss line that was memorable at all. This is a soft diss track at best, sorry no memorable "Back Down" on here.
Em produces and drops a verse for the great concept track "Gatman & Robbin". Both Mcs fit the quick paced beat quite well, Em's verse in particular will take several listens to break down.
Say what you want about the `hit' "Candy Shop", but the Scott Storch beat is simply hypnotizing and will be in the clubs for a long time. The subject matter gets a bit old (it's basically "Magic Stick" Pt. II), but the masses aren't even gonna listen to the lyrics anyway.
There is one serious problem you can see from reading the liner notes. While his previous effort was driven by four incredible Dr. Dre cuts, the producer's presence is greatly missed here as he only contributes two tracks. A Dre beat tends to bring out the best in 50, it did on "Get Rich" and the same holds true here. "Outta Control" is another classic shoulda-been Detox track and 50's hook comes off incredibly well, as it matches the high-pitched organs in the background. The strings and thumping bass in the background only add more intensity. While 50's verses aren't nearly as catchy as the hook, they certainly don't take away from this stellar track.
For "Get In My Car" Hi-Tek used a slight G-funk sound too it, and accompanies typical 50 pimping rhymes. The hook definitely has the potential to be used by every guy by the end of the summer. Disco D provides the stellar beat for "Ski Mask Way" which sounds like the score from an old Blaxploitation film, with its creative use of an O'Jays sample. This proves to one of the best tracks on here, and 50's Kool G Rap robbin' style rhymes works better than almost any other verse on the album. It's only further complete with the great hook that's doesn't have a hint of radio play in it. "Ski Mask Way" is definitely 50 at his best and most respectable.
50 actually shows some creativity on the concept "A Baltimore Love Thing". While it's not a new concept to compare Drugs with Love, 50 pulls it off quite well (to spell it out for you, he's rapping as if he were heroin). Plus it's such a huge change of pace for him it's almost a shock at first. "Ryder Music", while not bad, just sounds completely uninspired. It's pretty much just lazy filler, and it doesn't even fit the title very well.
Dre somehow does not produce "Disco Inferno", instead again it's C. Styles & Bang Out. The beat and 50's hook really make this song. It's already a club hit and you either love it or hate it. Unlike that track, you can tell from the opening seconds that "Just A Lil Bit" is a typical Scott Storch production. 50 kicks some seductive rhymes (all too similar to "Candy Shop") to fit.
The final Dre track only makes you want more from the two. "Gunz Come Out", which is your less than typical Dre track, is just that dark hard-thumping gun-talk track that worked so well for "Heat". Slow horns play throughout that sound like a processional march and pounding pianos come in to compliment it. Overall it's another classic Dre & 50 track, but kinda unsatisfying knowing this is the only other spot from Dre. More of the same gun talk, comes from the high energy "My Toy Soldier" that you can't help but compare to "My Buddy" from the G-Unit album. Tony Yayo drops the all to frequent quick verse at the end of the track.
"Position of Power" has a pretty nice piano loop, although the hook is not the best. 50's typical lyrics fit nicely with the beat and are slightly more light hearted (more of a hustler song).
The album, which was carrying along pretty well, has a lot of faults towards the end.
The Scott Storch "Build You Up" has a pretty nice beat, but the Thug Luv type track is defiantly gonna be another love it or hate it track. Jamie Foxx's chorus isn't nearly as memorable as the one for "Slow Jams", it basically could have been sung by any typical R&B singer.
"God Gave Me Style" is pretty forgettable, though some might argue his cheesy lyrics here show "depth" or whatever... I'm not buying it.
"So Amazing" is SO much like a Ja Rule/Ashanti track it's sick. How could 50 possible put this song after he ripped JA for releasing this same garbage? This track is a huge disappointment, I'm not sure at all what he was thinking (nor how could Dre or Em let him put this out.)
If that wasn't bad enough, the "I Don't Need Em" COMPLETELY jacks Ghostface's "Metal Lungies" on the Pretty Toney Album. Did he think that no one would notice?? I cannot believe 50 did this, considering Ghostface's album wasn't even released more than a year ago. This really leaves the album off on a sour note for a real rap fan.
Both regular & collector's editions have the 'bonus' track "Hate It Or Love it (Remix)". The original is a great song and both the Game and 50 brought some great lyrics. Here, both 50's verses are the same, the Game's first verse is different (and actually better), the rest of G-Unit adds on a small verse, but they really sound out of place. They don't work well on the track, making this Bonus not very rewarding.
Before concluding the review of the album - despite the fact it doesn't cost much more, THE COLLECTORS EDITION IS NOT ANY BETTER. You're better off saving the $5 bucks or so and skipping the nude photos included (which is really the only difference i can see).
As good as this album can be at times, it equally falls flat in other areas. The album is just too long (1 hour and 17 min!), especially when it has more than it's fair share of duds. The Massacre would get some serious help if it was a bit more picky with the track selection, in paticular towards the end.
Fans can expect the same from 50 lyrically for the most part, which is either good or bad depending on how you look at it. Another slight problem is you almost can't help but compare a lot of the tracks from "Massacre" to 50 or G-Unit's previous work, because they just sound like they fit the same formula all too well.
Bottom Line: There's plenty of material on here that is good quality (from 50 Cent standards) and fans will end up loving the album because of this. Despite the fact that there are way too many weak tracks, the strengths will satisfy just as they did on "Get Rich", and "Massacre" will probably go at least 4x Platinum. This album as a whole is merely ok, because the good and bad balance out pretty evenly, but even knowing ahead of time won't stop anybody from picking up "The Massacre".